Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Cellphones Announcements Software Hardware

Amazon Announces 'Fire Phone' 192

Amazon has unveiled the Fire Phone. It runs a modified version of Android, and it will launch exclusively for AT&T's network. The screen is a 4.7" IPS LCD (they tested from 4.3" to 5.5", and decided 4.7" worked best for single-hand use), with an emphasis on brightness. It runs on a quad-core 2.2GHz processor with 2GB of RAM, and an Adreno 330 GPU. It has a rear-facing, 13-megapixel camera using an f/2.0 five-element lens with image stabilization. There's a dedicated physical button on the side of the phone that will turn it on and put it into camera mode when pressed. The phone comes with dual stereo speakers that produce virtual surround sound. Amazon wants the phone to be distinctive for its ability to provide video content, both from a hardware and software perspective.

The Fire Phone runs Mayday, Amazon's live tech support service for devices. They also demonstrated Firefly, software that recognizes physical objects using the phone's camera, as well as TV shows and songs it hears. It runs quickly, often identifying things in less than a second (and it pulls up an Amazon product listing, of course). It can even recognize art. Firefly has its own dedicated physical button on the phone, and Amazon is providing a Firefly SDK to third parties who want to develop with it. Another major feature of the Fire Phone is what Amazon calls "dynamic perspective." Using multiple front-facing cameras, the phone tracks the position of a user's head, and uses that to slightly adjust what's displayed on the screen so content is easier to see from the new angle. It allows for gesture control of the phone — for example, you can tilt the phone to scroll a web page or move your head slightly look around a 2-D stadium image when browsing for available seats. Putting your thumb on the screen acts like a mute button for the head tracking, so it isn't confused when you look up from the screen or turn your head to talk to somebody. It's an impressive piece of software, and they've made an SDK available for it.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Amazon Announces 'Fire Phone'

Comments Filter:
  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @03:04PM (#47265197)

    My enthusiasm is dead not because of the tech, but because of all the handcuffs that come with today's devices.

    This stupid Amazon phone, for instance, only works on the AT&T network. WTF? AT&T is probably the worst of the bunch. That alone disqualifies it for me. The bit about it spamming me with Amazon ads doesn't help. I don't need a phone that tries to sell me stuff.

    Other Android phones aren't much better; they're closed-source and don't get updates for more than a few months after they're released. CyanogenMod may be a good alternative here, but you have to select your phone carefully here since only a few select phones have good CM support.

    Apple phones are the epitome of lock-in. And Windows phones are, well, Windows phones.

    What I want is a well-made Android phone that runs CyanogenMod, has an easily-replaced battery and SD card, and works on T-mobile (at least until they get consumed by some shitty company like Verizon).

  • by Assmasher ( 456699 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @03:07PM (#47265229) Journal

    ...the rest of their stuff?

    If so, not only a "no thanks" but I would like to add a "I hope you die a flaming fiery death and nobody is stupid enough to buy you..."

  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @03:21PM (#47265373) Homepage Journal

    What I want is a well-made Android phone that runs CyanogenMod, has an easily-replaced battery and SD card, and works on T-mobile (at least until they get consumed by some shitty company like Verizon).

    How about a Galaxy S4? That's what I'm running. I have a Sprint-branded model running on Verizon MVNO prepaid (only carrier around here - sounds like it's different where you live). I got mine from Amazon, as it happens - looks like they have a T-Mobile [] model too.

    Mine's running 4.4.2 CM milestone, fully encrypted. 64GB SanDisk SDHC (make sure you do an aligned format under Linux) w/ Incipio Dual Pro case. Battery pops out on demand. Make sure you get Odin for Windows if you intend to install custom ROM's.

  • by jpellino ( 202698 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @03:31PM (#47265469)
    The higher numbers are for without a contract. Dynamic perspective is Apple's current feature plus flagpole-sitting. Firefly is nice, it's their version of Delicious Library plus Shazam plus ABC, "It even tells you where to buy it!" Really? Guess where it's going to tell you to buy it... That one handed tilt feature will come in very handy while walking or being the passenger in a vehicle. Repurpose it as a speed reading app.
  • by sirwired ( 27582 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @04:04PM (#47265701)

    This phone strongly reminds me of the Motorola ROKR, a pre-iPhone device whose sole redeeming quality, vs. any other dumbphone of the time, was that it could play tracks you downloaded from iTunes and manually transferred to the phone over USB 1.0. It would only accept 100 songs and/or 1GB of files, whichever limit you hit first. It wouldn't play MP3's.

    Amazon has released a phone that has nothing to distinguish itself from the competition other than the fact it is hog-tied to the Amazon ecosystem. It's does not have any particularly interesting features that could not be implemented in pure software, and the price is nothing to write home about either.

    I don't see any reason why anybody would purchase this over the Moto G LTE, or any number of other smartphones that are available for a heckava lot less money. If you really don't mind being tied to a contract, there are better phones for less than the $200 they want.

  • by SpzToid ( 869795 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @04:11PM (#47265751)

    Have you considered a Fairphone to meet your specifications, which among many other redeeming qualities prides itself on its repairability, which includes being able to root your own phone whenever you want? So you can install CyanogenMod, or perhaps Jolla's Sailfish OS (that can also run Droid apps). It has a *lot* going for it, especially its designer's goal of staying out of the scrap heap as long as possible. About the only downside is the one attribute they didn't prioritize by design is being the fastest phone with the latest technology; but you must also consider the upsides when doing your own research to see if this is a good phone for you. [] []

    It uses a GSM SIM card, so it'll work on T-mobile worldwide as you require. I've held one and it's plenty classy in the hand.

  • by Schnapple ( 262314 ) <tomkidd@[ ] ['via' in gap]> on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @04:13PM (#47265775) Homepage

    The Fire Phone runs Mayday, Amazon's live tech support service for devices.

    I haven't experienced it myself but when I see the Amazon Kindle Fire commercials where they demonstrate you can talk to a live Amazon person to help you use your tablet, my first thought was "that would be great for my parents", especially since it would lessen the number of calls I would get from them on how to do something with their technology device du jour.

    You would think that something locked down like an iOS device wouldn't lend itself to needing this kind of tech support help, but in certain areas - especially phone calls - there's a certain level of resistance to technology complexity with the older crowd. It sounds like I'm being mean with regards to age but I have known several older people over the last few years who went out and bought an iPhone because it was the new shiny thing and then took it back because they couldn't figure out how to use it or didn't like how complicated it made things. As much as it makes perfect sense to you and I that the phone is a more generalized computing device nowadays and wanting to make a phone call is basically launching a program, the older set knows that you used to just open the fucking thing and start dialing.

    I'm not sure if the Fire Phone will make all that better (in particular I can almost guarantee my parents in particular would fucking hate the 3D screen thing) but I do think perhaps there's an untapped market out there for people who want a less-smartphone. After all, isn't that basically what "locked down" Android tablets like the Kindle Fire and the Nook are? Google, Apple and Microsoft are all trying to outdo each other on technical whiz-bang, and this entry from Amazon doesn't seem to impress the Slashdot crowd at all. Maybe this one is for our parents?

  • by YoungManKlaus ( 2773165 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @05:57PM (#47266979)

    I finally want a new kindle with a high-dpi e-ink display, everything else I could not give two fucks about.

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.